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DVD Review

Pseudology: The Art of Lying

Christopher Gildemeister

Release Date: 6/27/2014

MPAA Rating: Description:

“Not everything you see on TV is evil. Not everything is damaging to you. But what kinds of things are good to watch, and what kinds of things are bad to watch? What we hope to achieve is that you will be able to make better choices of what you allow into your mind, based on this information.”

This is the goal of the makers and producers of Pseudology, a documentary which discusses in detail the ways in which electronic media, especially television, influence the perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs of viewers. Through interviews with media scholars, physicians, hypnotherapists, and medical specialists in brain function, Pseudology demonstrates conclusively that media influence” goes far beyond exposing people to harmful ideas. In fact, television physically affects brain chemistry and function: it alters the working of the brain’s frontal lobe (the seat of higher functions like logic, morality, and will power), causes increased levels of anxiety and depression, and serves as a drug which in the short term stimulates brain function, but in the long term suppresses it. And by having this effect on infants and children, whose brains are still developing, television serves to precondition their minds to expect high levels of stimulation – thus leading to attention deficit problems in later life. Pseudology also documents how, through physical change and psychological conditioning, television and advertising change individuals’ emotional responses, and thereby alter their thoughts.

Pseudology itself contains no negative content. There are a few scenes taken from mildly offensive films or TV programs used as examples to make the producer’s case, but no explicit violence, sex, or language is shown. Viewers should be aware that the first seven minutes or so of Pseudology are made in a mock-conspiracy movie fashion, partly parodying but also making a serious point about Hulu’s “an evil plot to dominate the world” ad campaign. Though it may seem bizarre at first, viewers are urged to stick with the film and learn more about media manipulation. Also, the last few minutes of the film overtly reflect the filmmakers’ Christian convictions, with a somewhat detailed discussion of such theological concepts as Gnosticism.

While not all viewers may share the filmmakers’ religious concerns, the middle portions of the film, detailing the scientific effects of electronic media on the brain, are thoughtful and sobering. Indeed, Pseudology is a deeply disturbing film – not because of the filmmakers’ opinions, but because of the information it imparts,. The impact of television and movie viewing on one’s thoughts truly gives the viewer pause, as he or she considers what a lifetime of media consumption has already done to him- or herself. It also serves as a tremendously powerful cautionary tale for parents, who will wish to consider the impact of media on their children.

Because of its sobering yet deeply important educational value, the Parents Television Council is proud to award Pseudology: The Art of Lying with the PTC Seal of ApprovalTM. Because some of the concepts may be difficult for children to grasp, the PTC does not recommend this film for viewers under age 10.

To purchase a copy of Pseudology, click here.

SEX Brief suggestive scenes
VIOLENCE None
LANGUAGE None